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Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Court orders PTI ministers to leave in next three days

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GILGIT: The PTI-led government’s federal ministers and officials were ordered by the Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Court to leave the region in the next three days ahead of the upcoming elections.

A two-member bench comprising Justice Malik Haq Nawaz and Justice Ali Baig announced the verdict on a writ petition filed over violation of the code of conduct ahead of the upcoming polls.

The court also directed Gilgit-Baltistan’s Chief Election Commissioner Raja Shahbaz Khan, Chief Minister, and Chief Secretary to implement the decision immediately.

‘Pre-polling rigging’

Earlier, PPP leader Sherry Rehman had lamented that Prime Minister Imran Khan and federal ministers violated the electoral code of conduct by running political campaigns and urged the CEC to take notice.

“The prime minister and a federal minister is running the campaign of their party illegally in Gilgit-Baltistan, which is clear violation of the code of conduct of the elections and a pre-polling rigging,” she had said.

Rehman added that the federal ministers were addressing corner meetings and announcing development projects in the campaign — none of which was not allowed after the announcement of the Gilgit-Baltistan election schedule.

PPP’s complaint to CEC

The PPP had also written a complaint letter to the GB CEC about Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Ali Amin Gandapur allegedly violating the electoral code of conduct by campaigning in the elections for the PTI.

“Gandapur’s speeches are being telecast by several channels in which he is shown making electoral promises to the electorate,” PPP Election Cell In-charge Taj Haider had said in the letter.

Haider had stated in a letter that the Returning Officer of GBA 16 Diamer-II Chilas had taken notice of Gandapur’s forthcoming visit and restrained him from “participating in election campaign in any manner whatsoever”.

GB’s caretaker government of GB had nominated through an office order government officials in 10 districts to assist the visiting minister from October 28 to November 16, he added, noting that it was a blatant violation of the code of conduct and also in open defiance of the circular.

‘Not a political gathering’

However, GB CEC Raja Shahbaz Khan had dismissed the criticism over PM Imran Khan’s address in the northern region ahead of elections, saying it “was not a political gathering”.

Speaking to Geo Pakistan, Shahbaz had said the premier had participated at the Independence Day celebrations but that action would be taken against the violation of election rules.

PM Imran Khan had come under scrutiny after he addressed a rally on Sunday where he announced provisional-provincial status for GB. While he had declined to announce any development package for the region owing to the Election Commission’s restrictions, he did assure the people of his government’s resolve to uplift backward areas.

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